Includes bibliographical references (p. -283) and index
1. Introduction -- 2. National Development, Poverty and the Environment -- 3. A History of Adivasi-State Relations -- 4. Bhilalas: Caste or Tribe? -- 5. Community and the Politics of Honour -- 6. Economy and Ecology -- 7. 'In the Belly of the River': Nature and Ideology -- 8. The Politics of the Sangath -- 9. The Politics of the Andolan -- 10. Conclusions -- Appendix 1: Trees in the Forest around Anjanvara and their Uses -- Appendix 2: Gayana - The Bhilala Song of Creation -- A Glossary of Hindi and Bhilali Words
Why are adivasis fighting the Narmada dam and other development projects in India today? Are adivasis 'ecologically noble savages' living in harmony with nature? What is the tribal relationship with nature today? How do people, whose struggles are the subject of theories of liberation and social change, perceive their own situation? Do their present circumstances allow adivasis to formulate a critique of 'development'?
In the Belly of the River addresses these questions through an account of the lives of Bhilala adivasis in the Narmada valley who are fighting against displacement by the Sardar Sarovar dam in western India. On the basis of intensive fieldwork and historical research, this study places the tribal community in the context of its experience of state domination. Combining aspects of adivasi kinship and religion with the political economy of resource use, the book highlights the contradictions inherent in tribal relationships with nature - contradictions that permeate adivasi consciousness as well as practices
Baviskar critically examines the way in which adivasis are represented by intellectuals who speak 'on their behalf'. The author challenges current theories of social movements which claim that a cultural critique of the 'development' paradigm is writ large in the political actions of those marginalized by 'development' - adivasis who lived in harmony with nature, combining reverence for nature with the sustainable management of resources